With so much of our daily lives being impacted by COVID-19, as well as the rapid, occasionally confusing protection of the vaccine development process, many people have asked a question that frequently arises when a new medicine is introduced: If I have already been sick and recovered, do I really need this new vaccination? The following are some answers provided by a Board Certified Nurse Practitioner, Gina DiCostanzo, who specializes in allergies and immunology, for people who are inquisitive and puzzled.
Is Vaccine Recommended For All Who Have Had COVID-19 And Recovered?
Experiments with COVID-19 have shown that, like other viruses, exposure to the virus results in some immunity, with the body producing defensive proteins known as antibodies in reaction to the direction. When we get infected with a virus, our bodies produce antibodies in order to combat the infection.
Once we have recovered from the virus, our systems produce memory cells that enable us to identify the virus and mobilize antibodies in a timely manner if we are exposed to it in the future. However, how often do these antibodies remain active once the pathogen has been defeated?
According to the findings of most research, antibodies begin to develop after one to two weeks of contracting COVID-19 infection. Six to eight months after being exposed to COVID-19, antibody levels start to decrease rapidly, but some individuals have continued to generate antibodies for more than a year after being exposed.
According to other research findings, people may also maintain immunity after their bodies cease making antibodies via cell-mediated immune responses, which are an immunological response that does not require antibodies. It is also possible to produce antibodies via the administration of an mRNA (ribonucleic acid) vaccination.
A long-standing concept, the creation of mRNA technology, such as that used in the COVID-19 vaccine, is not really a new one. It has been widely used in the area of immunology for many years, and it has been the subject of many studies. It has also been utilized in oncology in a new area known as immunotherapy, which trains the body’s immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells through training the immune system.
These mRNA vaccines work by delivering a tiny, inactive piece of the viral protein into the body, which serves as a template of genetic data for human cells to use in order to make antibodies. The dormant virus protein provides the body with a means of identifying the virus without actually being exposed to or infected with the virus.
Based on this information, it would be reasonable to conclude that immunity resulting from natural infection is superior to vaccination because the antibodies body produces target the entire nutrients of the virus, rather than just the portion of the virus that mRNA vaccines are designed to target.
However, like with other coronaviruses, the longer this virus is allowed to propagate, the more it mutates and evolves into new varieties. Through the use of these variations, the modified virus may avoid our naturally developed protection. This also raises the likelihood of additional kinds of COVID-19 infection and outbreaks occurring in the future.